"This suggests that middle aged adults may differ from young adults in how they respond to the influence of TV viewing," Fabio noted. The researchers analysed data from 3,269 adults. For 15 years starting in 1990, the participants reported their television viewing habits and had their waist circumference measured and their body mass index (a measure of weight and height that can indicate obesity) calculated every five years.
The more time participants spent watching television when they were approximately 30 years old, the more likely they were to be obese five years later, compared to their peers who spent less time in front of the television. The researchers suspect many potential reasons for the association, including that young adults may be more likely to snack during television viewing and consume unhealthy food due to their greater susceptibility to the seduction of junk food advertising on television. The researchers found that participants were more likely to eat healthier foods as they aged.